The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

We’re No. 4

Just how serious should one take UW-Eau Claire’s drop from third to fourth for public universities in the Midwest in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” ranking? UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Donald Mash says it should be taken with “a grain of salt.” This statement may be true, but it does sound a little hypocritical.

Some of the ranking criteria are based on areas the budget directly influences. Since this campus has taken quite a hit budget-wise, it should come as no surprise that it dropped a place. One result of a smaller budget is an increased student-to-teacher ratio, which reflects in the ranking.

There are qualities of a university, however, that cannot be measured by criteria. Eau Claire has a great atmosphere and is easily accessible for its students. Additionally, Eau Claire has quality professors and a high employment rate for graduates. These characteristics will not show up on paper but make it a fine institution.

For the most part, Eau Claire is still the same university it was a year ago – when it was ranked No. 3.

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The hypocrisy comes with the administration’s downplay of the current ranking. When Eau Claire was No. 3, the university flaunted the ranking. It merited a front page story in this newspaper. Also, every time someone logged onto the university home page, there it was – a big, flashing link to the “Best Colleges” Web site, along with a reminder that Eau Claire was third in the Midwest.

The link still exists, however, but there is no immediate mention of the university’s ranking. Perhaps the reason for downplaying the drop is that UW-La Crosse now is ranked third. Eau Claire doesn’t want to advertise that it is not the best school in the UW System. La Crosse’s higher ranking should inspire Eau Claire to strive to be a better school.

Maybe a higher freshmen retention rate or a more aesthetically pleasing campus is needed. None of this seems to matter to students – it’s still the same quality school they chose to attend. If the university wants to advertise its ranking, no matter how unimportant it is, something should be done to improve the university before the next rankings come out.

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